Deadline for Murder
Cast & Crew
During a high stakes poker game, Los Angeles gambler Steve Millard and his fellow players are held up at gunpoint by a masked man posing as a hotel waiter. Before giving up his cash, Steve overpowers the man and reveals him to be Keller, an employee of Lynch, another player. Steve accuses Lynch of hiring Keller to commit the robbery and warns him to stay "on the other side of the street." Soon after, police lieutenant Jerry E. McMullen persuades Steve to leave town to avoid trouble with Lynch. As Steve is preparing to depart, he is contacted by Helen Blanchard, an old friend, who fears that her dissipated stepson Paul has taken a valuable document belonging to his father Claude, an oil tycoon, and given it to "cheap entertainer" Laura Gibson. After Helen also reveals that Paul has his father's gun and has been in contact with Keller, Steve goes to Laura's apartment, where he finds Paul all but passed out from drink. Strong-armed by Steve, Laura admits that Paul gave Keller the document, but insists she knows nothing about the gun. After sending Paul home, Steve drops by the casino that Lynch owns with his partner, Joe Gordon. There Steve notices his exotic neighbor from the Hotel Schuyler, Zita Louise Duvalle, exiting Gordon's office, then finds Gordon dead, with an empty envelope addressed to Claude near his body. After alerting reporter Vivian Mason, a fond aquaintance, to the body's presence, Steve returns to his hotel and shoves his way into Zita's rooms. She watches coolly as Steve searches for the document and remains nonplussed when Jerry arrives to arrest her on suspicion of murder. While questioning the Rumanian-born Zita in his office, Jerry receives an anonymous tip about the location of the gun that killed Gordon and learns that it is registered to Claude. Jerry releases Zita, but instructs his men to observe her. With Vivian in tow, Jerry then heads for the Blanchards' Brentwood home and there questions Paul, who confesses to selling the document to Keller at Laura's, but claims no knowledge about the gun. Sure that she has a great scoop, Vivian slips away from Jerry and sneaks into Laura's apartment, where she is attacked in the dark. Upon awakening, Vivian is greeted by Jerry and learns that Laura has been murdered. Worried that Vivian will implicate the wrong suspect in her story, Jerry assigns a hefty policewoman to guard her. Meanwhile, Steve, who had been knocked out and searched by Keller in his rooms, also shows up at Laura's and convinces Jerry to allow him to deal with Keller for the document. Steve tracks Keller to a restaurant and, after a brawl with Keller's men, persuades Keller to sell him the document for $100,000. Soon after, however, Jerry informs Steve that Keller was found dead in a vacant lot and tries to book him for murder. Steve eludes arrest and goes to see Lynch, offering him $100,000 for the document. Lynch promises to retrieve the document in two hours, then drives to Zita's place, realizing too late that Steve has followed him. After instructing Zita to bring Steve to his out-of-the-way house, Lynch departs and Steve enters. Zita tells Steve that the document will now cost $200,000 and must be picked up at Lynch's. On the way, Steve's chauffeur-driven car is stopped by two men posing as police detectives. Unknown to Zita and Lynch, Steve is being tailed by actual detectives, who also stop and engage the imposters in a gun battle. In the confusion, Steve and chauffeur Johnny flee for Lynch's. There Steve struggles with Lynch in the dark and wrests the document from him just as Jerry arrives. Jerry arrests Steve, Zita and Lynch and, as Vivian, who had used Steve's romantic interest in her to escape from Jerry's guard, observes, interrogates them in his office. Zita admits that Claude's document contained information about Middle Eastern oil fields that her foreign employer hired her to obtain, but denies any involvement in the murders. Lynch also maintains his innocence, but Jerry exposes them both by playing an incriminating recording he made of one of Lynch's phone calls to Zita. Zita then reveals that Lynch killed Gordon after he tried to cheat Lynch out of his share of the document sale money, Laura because she knew too much and Keller because he attempted to get the document for Steve. Finally cleared of all charges, Steve happily accepts Vivian's proposal and is congratulated by Jerry.